Search engine optimisation (SEO, for short)
Getting your site to the top of Google (or Microsoft’s Bing search engine, or Yahoo! or Ask, or any of the other myriad search engines) sounds like such a simple idea.
In fact it’s so obvious that many customers simply assume that once their site is online it will automatically appear in Google or the other search engines. This could not be further from the truth.
Getting those all-important search engine rankings is not so simple. It’s all about carefully designing your site so it’s easily accessible by the search engines, and making sure you’re doing everything possible to achieve the highest listings. Let’s jump right in.
First, some necessary jargon:
- Search engine optimisation: is the process of designing and refining your site so it is attractive to search engines.
- Spiders: the “feelers” that the search engines put out – spiders are automated “users” that will come and read your site, index the text on your pages, and hopefully understand what your site is about;
- Keywords: the phrases that users type into a search engine when they want to look for something – eg, “white trainers”, “hairdressers in hampstead”;
- Search engine rankings: when you type a search phrase into a search engine, the order in which the results appear are called search engine rankings;
- Organic search results: also known as “natural search results” – these are the search engine’s listings of results for a key phrase that usually appear centrally on the page;
- Sponsored search results: these are the paid-for advertisements, that look very like the natural search results, but are in fact paid-for by the companies who place them. Each time you click a sponsored link the company will pay anything from a few pence to a few pounds to the search engine;
Now we can discuss how to get your site to the top of Google.
The art of search engine optimisation
It’s vital to understand that SEO is an art, not a science. If it were a science we could produce a mathematical formula or list of instructions for how to get your site ranked number one. But it isn’t. All search engines use different techniques, and weigh different aspects of your site differently.
At UKcentric, we are search engine artisans. We understand the subtleties, the nuances, and tricks that are required to get your site ranking highly.
White hat search engine optimisation
Beware! There are many unscrupulous people out there who will claim they can get your site to list highly in the engines. But are they using fair means or foul? Are they doing things (such as stuffing loads of keywords onto one page) which might jeopardise your site’s future rankings for the sake of immediate gain?
If your site is found to be using unscrupulous techniques – also known as “black hat” – then your site is likely to banned forever from the search engines. Once banned, there’s little chance of coming back. Is it worth using any company whose techniques could result in a ban?
At UKcentric we are strictly white hat. So we use only legitimate, fair, and recognised techniques, that are accepted and recommended by the search engines themselves as fair and above board. For example:
- web site copy optimisation – carefully weighing words and phrases for maximum benefit to both the search engine spiders and your human readers;
- site structure optimisation – designing the structure of your site in the most logical and optimised way so that spiders can easily find and index your text;
- keyword placement – ensuring all your relevant keywords are placed judiciously on the most important pages;
- URL structure optimisation – ensuring your web page URLs are structured right and accurately reflect the structure of your site and the relative importance of each page;
- link building – the most important off-site feature of our service is the building of inbound links to your site from good quality external sites. This is the number one technique you can use to boost your search engine rankings;
What works for your visitors is what works for the search engines. So let’s introduce three main planks of your strategy.